It’s 7:42 PM on a Sunday, and we all know what that means: It’s time for another writing-related post to bore and alienate people.
On my first WordPress post ever, I was starting on draft six of my novel which was a little over 75,000 words (and the title to my first post was misspelled, as evidenced by the perma-link—I’m awesome). I’m currently halfway through draft seven and the word count has gone up to 79,000. Still fluctuating.
[UPDATE/NOTE: Check the comments for other WordPressers’ thoughts on planning out your novel.]
Substantive Changes in Later Drafts
Since I started this novel, I knew that I would immediately have to make huge substantive changes when I started editing: adding, removing, and changing entire characters and events. This was somewhat anticipated because I wrote my novel in a don’t-look-back method where I would avoid editing my chapters too much as I went. My priority was to reach my word count goal. So, it was a given that I would need to make important changes to the novel.
However, I didn’t expect that I would still be making major substantive changes while working on draft seven. Really, I thought by the time I got this far, I’d simply be tweaking prose and correcting grammar and spelling mistakes.
This problem likely resulted from not starting with a detailed outline; I just created the world and a few characters with certain psychological profiles, and nudged them forward to do whatever they wanted. This resulted in a whole lot of mundane crap that had to be cut and altered.
Benefits of “Proper” Planning
I don’t think there’s absolutely correct way to plan a novel. Between the many successful authors out there, I’m sure they’ve used just about every method conceivable. That being said, I think there are a few things I could’ve done to help me write a better novel and avoid making substantive edits so late in the game: Continue reading